The report of the Commission of Inquiry into Ararat Rural City Council has been tabled in the Victorian Parliament.
The report contains numerous findings and recommendations relating to the Council’s rating strategy, community engagement procedures, financial stability and inability to provide good governance.
As a result of the findings, Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins will appoint a Municipal Monitor for two years and has recommended reforms that will improve community consultation around council rates.
The Minister met with the Council’s Mayor and formally recommended that the Council adopt measures aimed at addressing the report’s findings, including the adoption of the 2016 rating strategy instead of the extreme changes proposed in the draft 2017 strategy.
The Minister has also referred the report’s findings on the termination of the CEO to the Chief Municipal Inspector and requested that the Mayor address the Commission’s findings into possible breaches of its Councillor Code of Conduct.
The Mayor has been asked to notify the Minister within 28 days of the steps that the Council has taken or proposes to take to give effect to these recommendations.
A Monitor will be appointed shortly to assist the Council in undertaking these actions and to report to on the Council’s progress.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins
“I take the Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations very seriously and the appropriate measures will be put in place to ensure Ararat’s ratepayers receive the good governance they deserve.”
“The Rural City of Ararat Council is on notice – you can’t disregard your community and expect to get away with it.”
“Council must take immediate and decisive steps to address these issues, for the sake of their residents, their ratepayers and the community.”